Genome BC's Technology Development Platform originated from Dr. Andre Marziali’s Applied Biophysics Lab at the University of British Columbia in 2002. Led by Dr. Marziali, the Platform initially consisted of two engineers working on projects for Genome Canada and Genome BC funded projects and platforms. In 2005, the first node of the Platform was formed when two engineers moved on site to the Platform’s principal customer, the BC Cancer Agency's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC), under the direction of Dr. Robin Coope.
The success of embedding engineers at the GSC led the The UBC James Hogg Research Centre at St. Paul's Hospital to start its Technology Development Core in 2006, with a focus on microfluidic devices for clinical genotyping.
2007 was a pivotal year for the Platform when Genome BC, with support from Western Economic Diversification Canada, secured $1.25 million for advanced prototyping facilities and training centres in BC. The funding was used to enhance the existing nodes at UBC, the GSC, and St. Paul’s, and also to establish new facilities at the UVic-Genome BC Proteomics Centre, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. The centerpiece of this project is the Joint Engineering Centre at the BC Cancer Agency, a state of the art prototyping centre that allows the Platform to rapidly deliver production ready tools to our research collaborators. A similar facility was also installed in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UBC that is used by researchers and students throughout the department.
Further support from WED has allowed the Platform to create a node at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna. The UBC Okanagan Innovation Centre allows UBCO faculty, staff and students to gain prototyping expertise as well as share knowledge on projects with the other Platform nodes.
Now that the Platform has built the necessary infrastructure required for proof-of-concept development and training, the next objective is to expand the number of biomedical and life science technology opportunities that have commercial potential. The Platform will by building relationships with clinicians and scientists to identify current problems and bottlenecks that result in unmet needs in treatment. In the longer term, the Platform envisions establishing a biomedical device incubator to enable this entrepreneurial process in a sustainable manner with support from the private sector and financial backers.